Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers – NBA, February 15, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| February 15, 2021 4:38 am PDT

This is a crucial game in the Central Division as the second-placed Pacers take on the third-placed Bulls. A victory for the Pacers will see them move within one win of the Bucks, while a win for the Bulls will reduce the gap between them and Indiana and move them up towards the Eastern Conference’s playoff spots.

The Pacers have the Bulls by the horns at present, having won the last ten meetings in a row between them. They have also won the last ten games to have taken place in Indiana. This shows what a monumental task the Bulls have on their hands tonight. The last time they won in Indiana was over five years ago in 2016.

Due to that far superior record, the Pacers are averaging 12 more points per game than the Bulls over the previous ten meetings between them. They are also averaging right more first-half points, showing that they usually start well against the Bulls. This is mostly down to Indiana scoring at 51%. The Bulls will have to tighten things up if they are to have any chance of winning tonight.

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Bulls vs. Pacers betting prediction.

Bulls vs. Pacers Odds

Bulls (+5.5) -110
Pacers (-5.5) -110
Bulls To Win +194
Pacers To Win -210
Over 229.5 Points -110
Under 229.5 Points -110

It’s quite hard to gauge the spread in this one as if you look at this season alone, then it seems a couple of points too high, but when you look at the head to head record between them, it’s easier to see why the bookmakers have come to this conclusion. The points total does look about three points higher than I expected, which could be the safest play to make.

Bulls News

The Bulls are struggling for consistency lately and have alternated defeats with wins over the previous five games. They have only won three of their last ten matches, but two of those wins came in the previous four games, so perhaps things are starting to look up slightly.

Chicago has enjoyed things on the road more this season, and they currently have the second-best away record in the Eastern Conference, narrowly behind tonight’s opponents, the Pacers. The Bulls have won three of their last four road trips, so they can be optimistic about breaking this curse that the Pacers have over them.

Here they are preparing to leave for Indiana in the hope of continuing their good away record.

Here are the latest betting trends for Chicago:

  • The Bulls are 3-7 against the spread in their previous ten games.
  • They have lost the last six in a row against the spread when facing Indiana.
  • Chicago has won seven of their previous nine matches against the spread when playing on the road.
  • Five of their last six games against Eastern Conference opposition has gone under the betting total.
  • They have not enjoyed playing against their fellow Central Division opponents recently, winning only one of the previous five against the spread.
  • The Bulls have only won four of their last 16 games played in February.

Overall, all of the above data means that the Bulls will be in for a tough night tonight.

The Bulls have an excellent shooting offense, and they will undoubtedly need to be accurate if they are going to continue to allow the Pacers to score at 51%. If they could improve upon their poor offensive rebounding, I’m sure they would have a top-five attack in the NBA.

Their offense has been even more deadly on the road this season, averaging four more points per game, and therefore, we shouldn’t write them off just yet.

However, they have a terrible defense that has let them down for the large part of the season. They are conceding on average 116 points per game, which is predominantly down to poor marking. Because of this thread don’t tend to make many blocks per game either, as they aren’t getting close enough to their opponents.

It isn’t helped by the number of turnovers they are making per game either. They seem to lack focus during their games, which is costing them dearly as they certainly have a talented team.

The Bulls are plagued with injuries at present, and they will miss Porter Junior, Markkanen, Hutchison, and Mokoka. However, there is a slight chance that Carter Junior could be available, which would be a massive boost.

Pacers News

After losing four in a row, the Pacers have bounced back to win their last two games. Before those two wins, they were struggling, having won only one match in seven. The two wins came against the Pistons and the Hawks, teams who sit outside the playoff spots. Regardless of their positions in the standings, it will have given the Pacers some much-needed confidence.

At home, Indiana has a record of 7-8 from their 15 games played this season. As their record suggests, they have struggled for consistency at home and have only won back to back games once all season, which was their first two home fixtures. However, they have never lost three home games in a row, which is something they will be hoping to avoid tonight.

Here are the latest betting trends for Indiana:

  • The Pacers are 5-10 against the spread in their previous 15 games.
  • Four of their last five games have gone under the betting total.
  • The total has gone over in four of their previous five games against the Bulls.
  • They have only won two of their last nine games against the spread at home.
  • Indiana has lost four of their previous six games against the spread when playing teams in the Eastern Conference.
  • The pacers have a fantastic record against teams in the Central Division, having won eight of the last ten matches.

I think the above highlights their problems at home this season.

The Pacers have a very average looking offense this season that shoots fairly decent but doesn’t excel at anything.

However, they do move the ball well and don’t make many turnovers, which could be their key to victory playing against a team that can often be sloppy with possession.

Their defense has been better, but again it’s nothing to write home about. They sit off their opponents, which the Bulls should enjoy as they like to shoot from deep.

They haven’t notably rebounded well at either end this season, which is strange for a team that sits as deep as they do defensively. But they do block well and average over five per game. Myles Turner has been an integral part of adding so many of these blocks, and he is fast becoming a candidate for defensive player of the season.

Turner and McConnell are becoming quite the defensive pairing, and if the rest of the team can get on board, they should become much harder to break down.

The Pacers also have a few injury worries heading into this game. They will be without Warren and LeVert, while McDermott remains a doubt as he struggles with a knee injury.

Bulls vs. Pacers Betting Pick

This is a close game to call, but I certainly wouldn’t be taking the Pacers -5.5 no matter how good their record is over the Bulls. I am going to stick with my gut instinct and pick under the points total. They have an averaged combined total of 222 points over the previous ten games, and I see this game going a similar way.

Pick
  • Under 229.5 Points
    -110

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